Wednesday, November 6, 2013

More on Promises to Self

Boy, do I struggle with this.  And I want to be noble and say that it's because I spend all my time and attention on OTHERS and the consequence is a neglect of ME.  That is not the truth.  It's time to take the blinders off to that victim excuse.

As a matter of fact, I could easily choose to make one or two small moves that would help me to keep promises with myself.  What I choose to do instead is find some noble reason (excuse) to not do what I say I'm going to do in the first place!  Again, I'm reminded of what I teach others - small steps in the right direction that answer the "who and what by when" questions.

Since it is so easy for me to slide with food and exercise and since that slide makes it easy to not trust myself to keep my word, I decided to take another baby step to help develop discipline.  I've made a promise - that I have kept completely thus far - to write at least one page every morning.  This guarantees me 15 minutes to focus completely on ME.  A cup of coffee accompanies my journal (and I frequently write of my gratitude for coffee) and I have a favorite pen.  I just write - whatever comes up - without judgment.  Much like I'd like to live my life - living how spirit moves me without judgment.  I frequently write about what I'm grateful for...that sets a wonderful tone for the day.  I'm gentler with myself and others and, funny thing, I'm also keeping other commitments with less effort.

Kathleen, we need to be gentle with ourselves and love ourselves because we really are WONDERFUL WOMEN.  I think when I know that about myself, the rest of the self care will fall into line.

Learning to fall in love with myself all over again.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Parallel Lives ... Tomorrow

Dear MP,

Having read your October 14 post, I see we are once again living parallel lives.  Well, except for the traveling and kids to college and moving thing.  My 'forget self' distractions are work, Mom, a commute that kills, AND a 16 day Government Furlough.

All of these things have totally knocked me off my game on self liking, self loving, self care.  Since they are all going to remain in my life (except that 16 day furlough - at least I am hoping there will be no repeat of THAT), so I need to embrace them rather than make them my excuses for easy fixing bad eating.

The catalyst to this current downward spiral  -- my juicer burned up.  Apparently, as you know, some important part inside is plastic and that important part melted so it no longer spun the basket.  Nothing was juiced.  Whatever I stuffed down the chute, stayed in the chute.  This set me back on the juicing.  I needed to get a new one to continue that path.  I DID get a new one, a few weeks later.  A lovely new shiny juicer, faster, more options, more durable - at least, at twice the price, I hoped so.  However, I barely tested its mettle before I continued my non-juice-because-I-had-no-juicer behavior.  Having been juiceless for two weeks, my attention wandered and my morning routine fell back into its old comfortable rut.  Juicing didn't live in that rut.  I have been unable (unwilling?) to establish a new groove to wipe out that old rut.

On top of the no juice, I rediscovered my love for soda.  I grew tired of homemade vitamin water - though it was tasty.  I ran out of the flavors of tea I liked and couldn't find any comparable in the grocery store.  Caffeine Free Diet Cola (both major brands, depending on the sale of the week) came back into my life.  This is not a good thing, because water went right out again.  I have replenished my tea stock.  I did this the first day of the Furlough.   It is now October 26th, 25 days after I replenished my stock, and I have not made a single cup of tea!

Eating was next to fall victim to my old path reversion.  I do try to make healthy dinners - when I'm not taking the fast food easy way.  Lunch was skipped more was good for me, especially since I ate junk instead.  Junk for breakfast, junk for lunch, healthy dinner - that just doesn't work!   Why the heck was I even BUYING junk?  Who knows.  I say it is for the others in my house who don't have the same issues, but I end up eating more than they consume of these 'treats for them."

I am not QUITE back up to the pre-start weight, but pretty darn close.  I'm definitely off my eating game.  I feel sluggish and unmotivated.  I am turning back into the chair slug.  I NEED to reset my mind and body  - lickety split!

Most of the goodies are gone.  I do have several 2 liter bottles of Diet Coke waiting for me.  BUT, I am determined to recommit to this journey.  I will need to review the pantry, fridge and freezer contents to make a list for grocery shopping.   I know I will need fresh juicing and vitamin water supplies.  I will need some fresh vegetables for meals as well.

Meal planning TODAY.  Grocery Shopping TODAY.  Juice prep TODAY.

Really start - TOMORROW. 

Beginning anew with you,
Your Sister

Monday, October 14, 2013

Commitments to Myself

This has been a wild 2 months with tons of travel, kids going off to college and moving from my home of twenty-one years.

I've given myself passes on self care and today I'm paying for it.  I'm sluggish, exhausted, allergy-drained and just as heavy and unhealthy as I was when I first made all of those promises to myself.

Therin lies the rub...promises to the self.  I teach my leadership students that keeping commitments to the self is the fastest way to learn how to keep promises and agreements with others.  We must first trust the self.  And yet I am like so many who want to tend to the needs of others first - it seems so much more noble somehow.

Fact of the matter....I don't want the last half (third?) of my life to be spent in health crisis and I need to put my time and my energy where my mouth is.  I need to take off the hero cape and stop singing the victim's siren song.  Create the plan (set the foundation) and then make one single decision and take one single step at a time (trust actions).  Baby steps in self trust.  Baby steps lead to giant leaps.

I don't feel well.  I want to feel well.  What am I willing to do about it?

Green juice this morning.  My purifed water next to me.  Baby steps. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Plateau is not just a place

The dictionary's first definition of plateau says "an area of high flat land; a mountain with a wide, flat top."  But a plateau is not just an area of land, it is an experience, a phenomenon, a point to forge ahead or turn back.

I'm choosing to forge ahead.

I've been plateauing or see-sawing for over two weeks now.  Up a pound or two, down a pound or two.  Eating well, not eating well.

First set back - my juicer died.  I ordered another the same day, but it took over 10 days to arrive.  I washed and set it up.  Prepped all the fruits and vegetables I had on hand.  Juiced for the first time in almost two weeks on Thursday.  Missed Friday.

Time to start anew on the daily juicing - TODAY!

Second set back - exhaustion, mostly caused by a ramp up on the job and needier folks at home.  It's been difficult to set aside prep and cook time.  We've had a few too many days of fast food and pizza, not to mention strudels for dessert.

Third (possible) set back - allergy season has started.  No time to get over the over-doing exhaustion before the sinus pressure, sore throat, nasal drip induced-coughing and poor sleep exhaustion begins. 

BUT, this third one I can see approaching, so I need to plan my attack NOW so it doesn't take me down.

I find the ladies in my care are another challenge right now.  Having to constantly explain what I'm eating and why is wearing on me.  I offer ice cream as their nightly treat and I have grapes.  I have to explain why for the 10 minutes it takes to consume these treats!  Same deal with muffins (I don't eat) or sandwiches (when I choose a salad over the two slices of bread).  It feels like I am on display, or in an interactive play where I am the star and they are the questioning audience. 

Getting over this will be the only way to continue on my healthful journey.

Good points - I am still 100% soda free!  I physically feel thinner than the scale has measured me (242 lbs this morning).  I'm aware of the pitfalls around me and will work to overcome them.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

What's in a Number?

When I started this journey a few weeks ago, I stepped on my scale and recorded the number.  I wanted to track my progress in the weight loss prong of this multi-prong adventure.

However, I have determined my scale is not to be trusted.  I tested the scale one day.  I recorded my weight three different times.  Each number was different!  I have no idea if the original figure recorded was even correct.  It could have been higher (probable) or lower (not as probable).

This lack of accuracy was confirmed yesterday at the doctor's office.  In the triage room, the digital scale said 3 lbs MORE than my home scale.  Then we went into the examining room, where the old balance scale resided.  I stepped on it.  It registered one pound LESS than the digital scale.  I lost one pound in the space of a doorway?  I don't think so.

Same day.  Three different scales.  Three different numbers.  Scales cannot be trusted and should not be the arbiter of my success.

  • How I feel  - (I feel better!)
  • How my clothes fit (some are looser; some, that were snug, fit fine now);
  • How successful I have been following the proper selections for meals and snacks;
  • The average of three tries on the scale 
                         ---- these will be my measuring tools.

You see the scale is still there, right?.  I can't bring myself to toss the scale completely.  I do want to know the approximate amount of weight I shed by the time my physical goal is met.  However, I will not rely on that as an exact measure of success or even the major measure of success.  I will not let the number derail me if it isn't what I expect to see.  A healthy body is more than a number on the scale!


My mind, left to its own devices, can play games with me.  Much of the success of living better has to do with taming my wild mind.  Getting conscious!  With my non-disciplined brain on autopilot, I get to make all kinds of poor choices....because I am not really thinking.  The chip goes in my mouth and THEN I think about it.  This is foolish.

Living better is about being alert and crisp and disciplined.  Again - that WORD!!!! Discipline.  It's my friend, possibly my best friend.

Yesterday my unruly mind won.  I was 10 minutes late to my exercise practice.  So, I went to the grocery store instead.  Do you think I purchased wonderful nourishing foods for myself??  NOOOOOOO.  It was apple pie and wine.

This morning I made sure I was on time for the class.  All through the first half of the class I kept looking for reasons to leave.  My mind went into riot mode.  I can't do it.  It's too tough.  I'm too big.  All the girls are yoga-thin.  Somehow, I got onto myself.  It was kind of funny.  I finished the practice.  I shed a few tears.  (yes....victory is bittersweet).

Mindset.  My goal this week is to stay conscious.

Very little weight lost so far...but some weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders.

We march on.

Friday, August 16, 2013


In the normal progression of my previous weight loss attempts, slipping led to stopping which led to regaining weight, losing muscle and inviting a few cousins back with the returning pounds.

I've been slipping this week.  A mini donut here.  No green juice there.  Sub sandwich with Mom and Aunt instead of making my salad.  (to give myself a little grace, Mom and Aunt bug the heck out of me when I don't eat what they are eating... seeming not to understand my current regimen).

I am realigning my thinking and pushing through this slippage to get back to my plan.

Problem:  I missed juicing three mornings this week.

Solution: I want fresh juice, but I may have to sacrifice the morning freshness for juicing the night before so the juice is available in the morning.

Problem:  I brought breakfast and lunch to work the two days I drove into the office this week.  I forgot the dressing for the salad on Thursday, so I bought a deli sandwich.

Solution:  I need to buy some bottles to take to work so I have my dressing on site in case I forget again.

Problem:  Easy access to tempting treats.

Solution:  There is no easy solution to this.  I really just need to set my mind to avoiding them, even though they are in plain site.  Most of those nibbles have been mindless, 'because they are there' nibbles, not because I was hungry.

I believe it is time to work on the Spiritual to help me get back on and keeping going with the Physical improvement .

I read a book a while ago, The Prayer Diet by Matthew Anderson, D.Min.  I have dusted it and will re-read it.  I remember a daily prayer is included.  Flipping through to find it, I see the book says to pray the prayer at least three times a day.

Dear God,
I surrender my body and my weight loss to your divine care and love.
I ask that you remove all excess and unnecessary weight from my body.
Return my body to its most healthy and balanced state.
Give me eating habits that support my health and life energy.
And, finally, teach me to love my body and to care for it from this day forth.
  -- The Prayer Diet, Anderson, p. 78 (2001)

Flipping through to find the prayer, I noticed there are little prayers and affirmations sprinkled through out the book.  Reading it will give me a boost!  I pray it will be the boost I need!


My nibbling and a couple of unhealthy food choices this week sent the scale slightly back.  I gained one, my total loss to date is 8 lbs, instead of 9.  I have continued to drink water, homemade vitamin water and herbal teas and have not had any diet soda.  The majority of my meals were healthy.  I juiced 4 of 7 days.

Time to get back in the groove and out of the ditch I pitched myself in!  Onward to a slimmer and healthier me!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Lay's Potato Chip has a famous tagline - betcha can't eat just one

Food obsession is like that for me.  I can't eat just one sweet, salty, creamy snack type food, unless there is only one!

In more recent years, many weight reduction plans have touted - eat most things in measured quantities, portion control, you can lose weight without giving up all your favorite foods and other things with similar meanings.   You can massage that message any which way you want, it doesn't really work for me.  I am incapable of eating just 10 chips or just 2 cookies or just 2 oz of ice cream.  If the rest of the package is in my house, the temptation is difficult, if not impossible, to resist.

I have a food obsession - if it tastes good, I want to eat... ALL!

The only way to tame this obsession is to avoid the temptations completely, or as completely as possible. 

I've done really well for the most part, until this weekend.  For a house full of guests, I bought treats. To be fair to me, I bought a lot of fruit too.  The guests did not eat ALL the treats, but there is a fair dent in the volume.  I did have a brownie and a few cookies, first non-fruit sweets in 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, there are leftovers - some cookies and brownies - which I am going to hide away because I hear their siren call.  I am too early in the 'developing new habits' phase of my plan to effectively resist them without putting them in hiding where only the others in the house can find them!  I do not want to answer their call. I shall concentrate my efforts on the variety of fruits that fill my fridge!


At the end of my second week, I am still soda free.  I have had a green juice every morning.  I have been making good choices for lunch and smaller portions for dinner.  I lost 2.4 lbs for a running total of 9 lbs lost since I started Living Better!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Developing a Practice

Two days does not a practice make...but it is a beginning.

I went back for more exercise last night.  This class is really hard.  I'm grateful I went back.  I nearly talked myself out of it.  See....the first time around, you don't know what to expect.  The second class...yes, one knows the torture to come.

The instructor told us at the beginning of the class that the word for the day is Patience.  We are to be patient with ourselves as we learn new things because we are developing a PRACTICE.  This resonated so strongly with me.  First of all, anybody who knows me understands that patience is not my strong suit.  (Just watch me eat dinner!)  But the notion of developing a practice makes sense.  It took time to learn jazz dance and moves needed to be perfected over time.  It took time to learn to keyboard (we called it typing back then) and mistakes and re-do's were the order of the day.

So, I WAS patient with myself.  When I needed to modify a movement, I did.  If I needed to stop for a moment, it was ok.  I just got back in when I could.  And I finished the class.

At the end, I felt tears coming on.  Relief?  Maybe.  Mostly because her parting words to us were "Be kind to yourselves."  How about developing a practice of being kind to myself?  That did feel like sweet relief.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Resisting Temptation

I went to visit my son and his fiance today.  They moved South of us into a lovely little townhouse in a lovely development.

I brought water and tea bags with me to avoid the temptation of stopping at WaWa for a 32 oz. Diet Coke!   My little cooler also included a sandwich bag of cherries.

I treated the three of us to a fairly healthy lunch at Olive Garden.  Unlimited salad and breadsticks are signature servings at OG.  I had two bowls of salad and 1/2 a bread stick along with my herb crusted Tilapia with Italian vegetables.  Healthy choices!  I resisted the temptation of additional breadsticks. I resisted the call of my favorite appetizer - fried calamari!

On the way home, I did stop at WaWa.  I bought a treat for my mother and a treat for my other son.  I resisted the call of the baked goods and Diet Coke, settling for a cup of ice to refresh my then warm glass of water in the car.

I will continue to plan and set myself up for success by bringing fresh fruit, ice and water when I go out in the car.  I need to stock my kitchen with healthy options for me when the others around me are reaching for not-so-healthy options.

The key to this living better gig is to continually resist the temptations that surround us on a daily basis.

Proud of Me

Prepped the veggies.  Prepped the fruit.  Enjoyed the juice.  Had a protein smoothie.  Delicious and reasonable lunch out with my daughter.

And then....had my butt kicked at The Dailey Method.  One hour of concentrated small muscle movement incorporating ballet, yoga and pilates.  I was twice the size of anybody else there.  But, I DID IT!!!  

Proud of me.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Discipline - Putting Wishes Into Action

What is this about for me?

Two Sisters Living Better.....

We talk almost every day and compare notes - woes and highlights.  Invariably, many of our conversations revolve around wanting to live better, to feel better, to look better, to be fitter, to be thinner.  And we are both very intelligent about the subject, too.  We've read and experimented, facebooked and posted, juiced and weight watcher-ed.  And maybe, just maybe, we are too smart for our own good.....Smart to the point of dumb.

For me...I think it or say it and its so.  I can easily imagine it to be so and then absolve myself of the discipline of actualizing it.  The discipline is what I walk away from.

232....that's my number.  And I can't wish it away.  I can work it off - with discipline.  Discipline is not a dirty word.  As a matter of fact, I truly feel my absolute best when I'm in some sort of a discipline - a work program, preparing great food, making my bed every day, chopping vegetables, teaching.  

The real discipline I am adopting is the discipline of putting myself first and making time for myself  - having a high regard for myself.  No old religious messages about being selfish....this is lifesaving.  

So what is this about for me?  Being disciplined in my life so that I can put all my intelligence and smarts and research and experimentation to good use - caring for me.

This is us before - next year a "lighter" picture for us both.

Friday, August 2, 2013

My first week on my new journey to living better - K

Hi, there, Kathleen here.   I am on a journey to Living Better.   I have traveled many unsuccessful  variations of this Living Better journey in my 50+ years.  I've always turned back when I hit the snags and snarls that littered my path.  It has been a vicious cycle.

This time feels different.  This time I finally feel ready.  I am armed with a machete, a bush hogger, and other manner of snag and snarl clearing devices!  I know there will be times when I fall off the path as I try to clear the recalcitrant debris.  No successful journey is without pitfalls.  They are rarely straight paths - from here to there - with no deviation.

As I set out on this successful journey, I will face the hurdles, the brambles, the briars, the pot holes, snarls and snags and I will defeat them.  They might slow me down, but they will not stop me!

Officially, my journey began on July 26, 2013. That Friday morning, I stepped on my scale and saw that scary number - 250.6 - and said NO MORE!

I began right then to do the right stuff.  I have known about the 'right stuff' for years.  After all, I am a professional dieter: Weight Watchers - multiple times, various versions; Atkins; eDiets; calorie counting; my own versions cobbled together from these and other sources.  Knowing and doing are two very different things.

Enter Friday morning, the great scale shock day... and I'm off.

I decided I needed a few tools of success.  I made a 1/2 gallon of vitamin water (thinly slice 1/2 cucumber and 1 lemon, place in pitcher and fill with water; steep for 4-6 hours).  I made an extra large serving of green juice (kale, spinach, 1/2 cucumber, a few baby carrots, 1 lemon, 1 apple, 1 stalk celery). Then I prepped all the vegetables and fruits in the fridge to be ready to juice each morning with minimal daily prep.  I planned dinners based on my freezer and pantry contents.  I planned heart healthy breakfasts.  Prepped salad ingredients for lunches. 
I kept up my Friday momentum all week -

  • I ate healthier meals - did not eat out at all.  
  • I juiced daily.  
  • I drank water, vitamin water or herbal tea with minimal sweetener. 
  • I exercised in the pool 3 days.
  • I shopped for fresh fruits and vegetables.  Prepped them for easy eating.
  • I completely eliminated soda. (A big deal for me - I easily drank 2 to 3 2-liter bottles of Caffeine Free Diet Coke!  -- I've had None this week, not even a sip of Mom's soda.   Added bonus?  I save money in my food budget! 
The Results

After one week, I am less hungry each day and lost 6.6 lbs!  An excellent start to the healthy part of this journey.

There are several elements to this Living Better journey: Physical, Financial, Spiritual, Intellectual.

  • Physical:  My health, including losing 80 lbs and reducing or eliminating blood pressure medications
  • Financial: Money management/debt reduction/retirement goals (this journey began in mid-2010)
  • Spiritual:  Finding myself, my spiritual side, my purpose and living in it as I lose one third of my body (also a continuing journey, wanting to pick up speed on this one, make it more intentional)
  • Intellectual:  keeping my mind active and engaged. Expanding my knowledge through reading, researching , exploring.  (also an ongoing journey, one that needs more intention)

And the journey continues.  Hop aboard!